Rafael Nadal claimed his ninth Monte Carlo Masters title with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 victory over Gael Monfils on Sunday and the Spaniard says the timing of the success could hardly be better.
The win was Nadal's first this year. He only won three tournaments in 2015 and, prior to Sunday, had not won a Masters title for two years.
After a tricky period in his career where he has struggled with injury and form, Nadal admitted that he wanted a win for a long time and his emotional celebration on Sunday reinforced that.
"I was waiting for such a victory. I think we have worked hard to regain positive feelings, feeling that we felt from beginning of the year, but we needed a victory to confirm," Nadal said.
"Last year was a tough year. The nerves that I had, I was anxious in the matches."
With the French Open set to begin in just under a month's time, Nadal believes that the timing of his comeback victory could hardly be better.
"Now I try to follow the same path of work and, if possible, results too. I think the victory comes at a perfect time of the season," he said.
"Now I have three tournaments on clay that are important to me, two straight at home, in Barcelona and Madrid, then Rome. I hope to continue to do well."
Nadal has won the French Open a staggering nine times and has a further five grand slams to his name. His victory on Sunday was his 28th ATP Masters title drawing him level with Novak Djokovic. However, Nadal insists that records are for reflecting and careers are for playing.
"The statistics will be counted at the end of my career," said Nadal, insinuating he hasn't reached the end just yet.